Small Business are the Backbone of USACE Mission Delivery

To help deliver the mission the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers leverages a unique expertise – small business professionals. Led by the Office of Small Business Programs, their job is to integrate small businesses capabilities into USACE projects.

Small business professionals’ mission – to make outreach to small businesses bigger and better, bringing them in to add more value to the projects that the Corps of Engineers works on. To accomplish this task, outreach is being leveraged to lead the small business program into the future.

Through outreach the team, is focused on two important tasks. Helping all kinds of small businesses get opportunities to get government contracts, and making sure small disadvantaged businesses get a fair chance.


It is the team of some very dedicated people that will make this happen. Since federal fiscal year 2021, over $350,000,000 has been spent on small businesses, accounting for 61.71% of money spent by the Buffalo District.

Of that, over $198,000,000 went to small disadvantaged businesses which the U.S. Small Business Administration defines as:

  • 51% or more owned and controlled by one or more disadvantaged persons
  • The disadvantaged persons must be socially disadvantaged and economically disadvantaged
  • The firm must be small, according SBA’s size standards

Dorothy Jones is the first permanent Small Business Professional/Procurement Analyst assigned solely to the USACE Buffalo District, working to reach out to small businesses on opportunities.

Dorothy Jones, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Buffalo District small business professional, meets with Lt. Col. Brett Boyle, commander of the Detroit District, as they hosted its first in-person Business Opportunity Open House since 2019 at the Patrick V. McNamara Building in downtown Detroit, Michigan, Feb. 27, 2024. COURTESY PHOTO

“I’ve been in this position since May 4, 2023,” said Jones. “The previous Small Business Professional was dual hatted, responsible for Pittsburgh and Buffalo.”

Jones said Small Business Professionals are responsible for achieving success in the Department of Defense’s small business programs, which are based on federal law in the Small Business Act.

“I work with small businesses to help them get government contracts and review acquisition strategies,” said Jones. “I then prepare monthly reports for the commander of the statistics and achievements to ensure we are meeting the goals we have set for ourselves.


“For the Buffalo District, I focus more on businesses who work on dredging projects, building and grounds maintenance and repair, archeological service, stone supply, just to name a few,” said Jones.

The Small Business Administration has small business standards for each of the 689 unique industries in recognizes. For small businesses, it can be tough to navigate what the government can offer.

“It’d educational because I’ve learned that there are so many small businesses of all types that exist,” said Jones. “It’s fulfilling because that’s how I feel when I’ve helped them with information, direction and names of establishments that can help them to advance.”

Part of working with small businesses, Jones explained, is reaching out to underserved communities, which are communities and populations that traditionally have faced barriers in accessing credit, capital and other things they need to start grow their businesses.

Those communities may include populations such as women, minorities, veterans, tribal groups and others.

“In executing our mission, Small Business Professionals conduct market research via contractor engagement or outreach in the form of an open hours, industry day or small business conference,” said Bonita Carroll, the assistant director for the Office of Small Business Programs for the USACE Great Lakes and Ohio River Division.

“We assist prospective contractors with opportunities to compete for our procurements in the form of a ‘forecast’ and can link these firms to resources to ensure they receive timely payment and fairness,” said Carroll.

In the past, Jones has worked with the USACE Detroit District to host an Industry Day event where which brought together contractors from across the country who were looking to do business with the government.

The annual event welcomes potential business partners to our headquarters to learn about what we do, upcoming projects and partnership opportunities. The open house included staff from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Buffalo District and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Chicago District to energize projects and small business across the Great Lakes states. COURTESY PHOTO

“They were plumbers, electricians, builders…some had never worked with the government, some already had,” said Jones. “Advertising these outreach events actually reach businesses in the underserved communities.”

The scope of work the Buffalo District does requires a wide variety of contractors, Jones explained. Everything from construction and radioactive material removers, all the way to computer and ink cartridge providers, she continued.

“I’ve learned that small business are the back bone of this country. There are so many small businesses that have been started, but have no idea of the demands, how hard it can be and the risks they’re taking,” said Jones.

“The government can help them thrive and grow, but some of them don’t’ know that either,” she continued.

Jones helps connect contractors to the resources of the SBA. They have numerous programs designed to help small businesses in many ways. Ranging from loans, advice and counseling, as well as programs specifically for women, minorities and veterans.

Jones explained that even when large businesses get contracts, there are provisions in place where they must also submit a subcontracting plan to involve small businesses in the project.

“Although a large business wins the job, they are helpful by hiring qualified subcontracted small businesses,” said Jones.


Jones’ success in her positions comes from a wealth experience, having served for 20 years in the U.S. Army as a logistics personnel, equal opportunity officer and a contract administrator, retiring as a sergeant first class.

“Dorothy was instrumental in securing data for Maj. Gen. Mark C. Quander’s 2023 S.A.M.E. Federal Small Business Conference briefing on emergency management and response,” said Carroll. “We are looking for Dorothy to continue to do great things for the Buffalo District.”

“The most fun part of the job for me is meeting the people and learning just how many different types of businesses that are out there,” said Jones. “Hearing them greet me by my name when we meet again at different events. Knowing that I was able to assist them in their journey to success.”

61.71% of all USACE Buffalo District contract spending went to small businesses since 2021, totaling $354,242,366. Of that, $198,677,499 went to small disadvantaged businesses, $36,607,503 to service disabled veteran businesses, $11,713,753 to women owned businesses and $130,327,399 to HUB Zone businesses. To learn about these small businesses, visit

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